This is a wonderful conclusion to a wide-ranging and thought-provoking trilogy, exploring not just the now-familiar horrors of the Great War, but psychological trauma, death, sex, morality and - in the Melanesian scenes in this book - truisms across cultures.
The Ghost Road is in many ways the best of the three, focussing primarally on the psychologist Rivers and the anti-hero of the trilogy, Billy Prior, who, in his return to France, is given a much more meaningful and emotional role than was apparent in the fairly middling second book 'The Eye In The Door'.
One of the obvious criticisms is that these characters - even though many are based on real, historical people - are defiantly NOT people of the 1910s, but - in morals, outlook, and mainly a pervasive sense of modern liberalism - people of our own time. Rivers the psychologist heals the 'shell-shocked' not by the crude electric-shock treatment of his peers, but by empathy, understanding and psychological techniques that would not be out of place in today's healthcare system. The fighting men and patients have attitudes to homosexuality and trauma, and a level of worldly cynicism, that are not apparent in contemporary accounts, but which make them seem much more creatures of our own time.
I do not see this as a bad thing, however; by giving her protagonists modern values, Barker allows her modern readers to empathise with, and understand, her characters better, increasing the emotional impact of their various ups and downs.
This is a wonderful book, haunting and thought-provoking, and deserves its place as one of the best books written about World War One, or even of the last 20 years.